VOORHEESVILLE — Romo’s Pizzeria & Restaurant is expanding.
A banner hanging across the facade of the former Smith’s Tavern promises “Coming Soon,” sandwiched by “Under Contract” signs to indicate the vacant restaurant space will soon usher patrons inside for the first time in five years.
Romo’s Pizzeria & Restaurant has developed into a popular eatery among regional restaurant-goers since it first opened at the Glenmont Plaza in 2009. The eatery has been named among the area’s best pizzeria’s over the years; winning best pizza by Capital Region Living Magazine and having been mentioned as a top pizzeria in the Times Union.
The menu from the Glenmont location features Romo’s classic recipe, including Sicilian and Chicago deep dish pizzas, Neopolitan and artisanal style pizzas — all using ingredients sourced from across the country.
The 112 Maple Ave. location was recently listed for $799,000 before Romo’s owner Anthony Berghela purchased the property in June. The 3,368-square-foot building is to be renovated to accommodate the new eatery with plans to open doors in late 2022 or early 2023.
The site is a threshold of sorts, an ideal place for business as motorists drive to and from Albany along Route 85A each day. Nonetheless, it has remained vacant since Jon McClelland and John Mellen closed Smith’s Tavern in 2017.
The property was immediately the source of a tug of war as Stewart’s Shops attempted to convert the site for one of its convenience stores. Resident concerns with installing a fuel station next door to an existing Mobil Gas station influenced Village Hall to pass a commercial development moratorium before crafting a comprehensive plan. Officials from the Saratoga-based store chain grew frustrated over the delay before they ultimately abandoned their plans for the property.
Smith’s Tavern was opened as a hotel at the turn of the 19th century. owned by Frank L. Smith opened it as a tavern shortly before World War II, lending his name to the new restaurant. He’d later pass the business down to his son, Frank Smith Jr., who introduced hand-made pizza with his wife, Gert. McClelland and Mellon bought the tavern from Frank and Gert Smith in 1991.